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The Good Life in Academe, at Least in Michigan

Yesterday’s Detroit Free Press reported they had “reviewed performance audits of 11 state universities issued by Michigan’s auditor general,” and found that “Michigan’s public universities have offered thousands of sparsely attended classes, allowed thousands of students to pad grades by taking the same classes over and over, and sometimes failed to monitor or correct faculty performance.” For example, at Western Michigan University, “35% of full-time faculty . . . taught only half-time or less.” At six universities, “auditors found more than 3,800 instances of students taking the same course three or more times."

Excuses for this inefficiency ran from “(t)he biggest problem on campus is not inefficiency . . . but dramatic cuts in state funding” to this from the president of WMU’s faculty senate, “Teaching is not the whole job . . . The trend at our university, in particular, is to get more involved in research outside the classroom.”

Virginia taxpayers can review the audit reports published by Virginia’s Auditor of Public Accounts where the APA appears to perform annual financial, internal control, and compliance audits of Virginia’s state colleges and universities. Now, we need some aggressive reporters to review the APA’s report to look for any trends occurring on Virginia’s campuses.